AWG is short for American Wire Gauge, a standardised system of measuring the cross-sectional area of Vacuum Valve. This is utilized to determine how much current a wire can handle. AWG causes much confusion for consumers, as the standard can be a little challenging to understand. Is 12 AWG better than 14 AWG or the other way around? Why one cable looks thicker than another while they have identical AWG? Is AWG a great indicator of quality? Does AWG matter, and if so, how? These are all good questions, and we’ll get to them shortly. Firstly, let’s briefly touch about how AWG is actually calculated.
How is AWG calculated? In case a cable was a solid circular wire, then AWG is fairly straightforward to calculate. Go ahead and take area (pi x radius squared) to get the cross-sectional area, and search in the AWG chart (example below) to work through AWG. When a cable has multiple strands, a similar operation is carried out to work out the cross-sectional area of each strand, which can be then simply multiplied by the amount of strands to have the total AWG. However be cautious when comparing this figure as AWG will not be linear. For every extra 3 AWG, it is half the cross-sectional area. So 9 AWG is approximately 50 % of 6 AWG, which is half again of three AWG. Hence 3 AWG is quadruple the thickness of 9 AWG.
So how exactly does AWG affect electrical properties? You would’ve noticed by now the smaller the AWG, the bigger the cable. Larger cables may have less DC resistance, which translates to less power loss. For applications to home theatre, this is certainly true as much as an extent. A guideline is that for smaller speakers, a cable of approximately 17 AWG is plenty, whereas for larger speakers anything approximately 12 AWG or even more provides you with good results.
The reason some cables of the identical AWG look different in thickness? Two factors dominate here. Firstly, the AWG only takes into consideration the internal conductors. Therefore, a cable manufacturer could easily boost the thickness in the plastic jacket to create the cable appear thicker. This isn’t necessarily bad, as up to a point increased jacket thickness reduces other unwanted properties. Just make certain you don’t do a comparison by sight.
One other factor why RCA Cable may look different in thickness is the way the internal strands are made. Some cables have thinner strands, while some have thicker strands. Depending on the size and placement of these strands, cables can be made to check thinner or thicker compared to what they are.
Is AWG a good indicator of quality? In a nutshell, no. A large AWG (small cable) may definitely be too small for the application (for example, you shouldn’t be employing a 24 AWG cable to operate your front speakers). However, AWG is a measure of quantity, not quality. You should ensure that all of your speaker cables are of a minimum of OFC purity.
Does AWG matter? How so? AWG certainly matters. You should ensure that the cable you happen to be using is plenty to handle power you’re planning to put through them. Additionally, should you be carrying out a longer run, then fxxwky more thickness will be required. However, many people get swept up a lot of in AWG and forget the reality that after a sufficient thickness is reached, other factors come into play. This then becomes more a matter for “audiophile” features to resolve, such as using high quality materials including silver conductors or improved design.
Wire gauge is certainly a good fundamental indicator of how sufficient MUZISHARE KT88 is perfect for the application. However, it is in no way a judgement on quality, or perhaps a specification to consider exclusively. As a general rule of thumb, after about 11-12 AWG, thickness becomes much a smaller factor, whereas for many hi-fi applications 18-19 AWG is the minimum cables to utilize.